The business of farming continues to grow, which makes keeping the farm business intact and functional a bigger challenge.

When we look at how to continue the farm through changes in generations, the process and procedure are often foggy.

As a Michigan State University Extensionfarm management educator, I continue to work with farms and families in designing farm transition plans.

If and when written goals are defined, they can be used to set in place a series of action steps to provide the vehicle to achieve the identified goal. The process of writing down on paper a goal creates something that is totally different from what would otherwise be just a want or desire.

A written format puts the goal into an entirely different status as now it is recorded. Now the goal can be viewed and reviewed, not only by its creator, but by others.

When you put a goal in a format that can be shared with others you have opened the opportunity and option for others to support the goal. Having goals that a team can focus on multiplies the energy and opportunity that it will succeed.

When setting the direction for the development of long-term goals, first consider if it will support your mission statement. Remember a long-term goal is rather general in nature. It defines the general direction to move the farm business.